The Importance of Calls to Action
An effective call to action, or CTA, can have a resounding impact on revenue while also expanding customer reach.
CTAs are common throughout the web, from social media to blog posts, but the most successful speak for themselves with profitable results.
CTAs also possess an enjoyable versatility, both in regard to platform usage and actual content, that makes their usage recommended for business in all niches. When digging deeper into why and how successful calls to action work, while also looking at examples of poor calls to action, several things become clear:
1. CTAs Can Exist Anywhere
The early age of the internet saw a fairly limited number of areas ripe for calls to action. Since CTAs can exist anywhere content can, today presents a wider range of opportunities than ever for businesses to take full advantage of CTAs. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other platforms all present ample opportunity for calls to action, whether in the form of conventional text or even a video or photo making the call to action. As the example above shows, platforms like Instagram even provide accessible call to action options.
This versatility aids in increased revenue because it allows for more creative opportunities. Audiences vary between the platforms. Viewers of a blog, for instance, are fully expecting to digest content, making lengthier calls to action appropriate. Meanwhile, viewers of Instagram are more in the mode of quick digestion. In this case, a quick video or photo with a concise call to action seems more appropriate.
Using the versatility of CTAs, while analyzing which CTAs are a fit for the particular medium, can result in a business seeing extreme increases in revenue. Reaching out to the entire user base via blogs and social media can ensure a wider net is cast than ever before.
2. They Serve as the Finishing Touch
One could convey a brilliant marketing pitch and be faultless in their delivery and content delivery, yet still fail to capture business if they don’t finish well. Summarizing all the benefits of joining a service or purchasing an item at the end of the pitch is integral to closing things up. Calls to action have the power to do this.
Aligning CTAs correctly is part of the art. Ideally, for a blog post, successful CTAs are placed at the end, with the preceding content leading into it and the CTA summarizing the beneficial points. A question like, “So what are you waiting for?” or “Ready to join?” is commonly included.
Prematurely placing a CTA can cause readers to forget to undertake the action entirely. They may get so swept up in your beautiful content that the CTA can be forgotten. That’s why placing it at the end is a better strategy — it can leave a more resounding impact and result in more conversions.
3. CTAs Can Reinforce Established Expertise
Users are unlikely to respond to a call to action if they’re skeptical about you or what you’re offering. As a result, great calls to action are preceded by content that establishes a legitimate reputation and knowledge on the topic. For example, this guide to better landing pages from Hubspot includes eleven great tips. By the article’s conclusion, there is no question as to whether Hubspot is an expert on the subject.
At the article’s conclusion, they ask users: “What other landing page tips would you share with marketers taking an interest in landing page optimization?” This causes users to stop and think, reflecting on what they’ve read so far. With many at a loss for what to respond with, Hubspot cleverly includes right below that a very effective CTA: “Want more lead generation tips and tricks? Download your copy of The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks & Ideas today.”
Asking readers a concluding question and then following that question up with a relevant call to action can work wonders in terms of increasing revenue and grabbing a reader’s attention. It’s generally a three-step process that entails capturing the reader’s interest, immersing their newly learned knowledge with an applicable question and using that question within the CTA.
4. Non-Specific CTAs Can Work, When Incorporated Intelligently
Content-tailored calls to action can work wonderfully, though the power of CTAs is also evident in their ability to be placed anywhere regardless of topic. An entirely irrelevant CTA won’t work well, such as pitching an eBook about aviation in an article about pest control, but more general CTA tasks — like subscribing to the entire site’s newsletter or following them on social media — can be pushed regardless of the topic being presented in the blog or social media post.
Hubspot does this well, too, placing a call to action box at the bottom of many blog articles that give viewers an option to subscribe to their newsletter. After some time on their page, a pop-up also appears with the option to “Get expert marketing tips straight to your inbox, and become a better marketer” above a box where you can enter your email address.
The box only pops up after a minute or two on a page, with the site assuming you’re reading and interested enough in the content to consider subscribing. Using time-based pop-ups like these, as opposed to just popping up immediately, can be the difference between being perceived as a nuisance and a helpful suggestion.
5. Harness the Power of Testimonials
In addition to strong content, testimonials can be a difference-maker when people are wondering whether to go through with a presented CTA. LinkedIn knows this well, dedicating an entire page to endorsements and testimonials from respectable figures. On their various product pages, where CTAs are used to get people to sign up, these testimonials are visible on the page.
This is a particularly wise method for businesses not as dependent on substantive blog content. If users aren’t going to gain good judgment of your reputability or success from content alone, have others reinforce that notion. CopyBlogger uses endorsements nicely in their call to action, with various endorsement quotes evident right below their “Take the Tour” CTA.
6. Establish Urgency! CTAs Love It!
Effective calls to actions can vary in their content and tone, though they generally all do possess a relatively urgent quality. Creating the impression that something is limited or very timely can prompt users to make the action, as opposed to simply telling themselves “I’ll do it later” before forgetting about it entirely. The call to action on Leadpages’ weekly webinar is a great example of this, telling users to “Click Here to Claim Your Spot,” with a countdown timer below that. While the timer may be a bit much for some sites, it’s certainly an effective tool to tell potential leads “this won’t be here forever!”
CJ Pony Parts’ homepage CTA also successfully uses urgency. They offer a 10% off sale, while noting “this is your only chance all year to purchase select Cobb items on sale!”. Again, this informs users how much time they have can create a productive anxiety of sorts, with them opting to take care of it now before forgetting later.
Calls to action clearly possess a great ability to generate revenue and expand a business’ reach, as long as they show urgency, are implemented appropriately on a platform-specific basis and are uplifted by shrewd placement and copy. All businesses should be taking advantage of CTAs in our very social media and blog-active climate.
Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.